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Three Dogmas of Utilitarianism

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I think that something very close to utilitarianism is the right moral theory, and most of the standard objections are bunk.  But here are what I take to be three genuine flaws in "orthodox" utilitarianism. (Two can be fixed from within utilitarianism.  One pushes us to accept a slightly different consequentialist view that is no longer strictly speaking utilitarian.)(1) Confusing value with what's valuable.Consider Norcross' "Act Relevance" principle (MBD, p.4):Intrinsic value provides intrinsic reasons for action. That one outcome contains more intrinsic goodness than another is, or at least provides, a reason to act in such a way that the former rather than the latter occurs.I think this is subtly mistaken.  It gives the right extensional verdicts (about how much reason there is for various acts), but for the wrong reason.  The moral reasons stem not from the value-facts themselves, but rather from the value-makers -- the underlying features in virtue of which the outcome contains more value.This is really important for both normative- and meta-ethical reasons.  Normatively: it's important that our reasons to help individuals stem from those concrete individuals themselves, and not just from abstract value-facts. Otherwise, you end up vulnerable to the sorts of "anti-theory" objections raised by Stocker, Williams, etc.  But those objections can be entirely de-fanged by getting this distinction right, at no cost to our core consequentialist commitments.  Or so I argue in 'The Right Wrong-Makers' (summarized here).Meta-ethically, it makes clear how value-facts could be non-natural even though what we ought to respond to (what gives us reasons) are various natural features of a situation: people's pain and suffering, for example.  Values mark how important various natural features are, and how strongly we should respond to them.  So if one outcome contains more value than another, that indicates that. . .

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